Network18 Media & Investments posted a jump of over 9 times in net profit to Rs 547 crore for FY 2021, expanding margins in the television news business and also breaking the digital news segment.
The company minimized the COVID effect by keeping a tight lease on costs to increase domestic advertising revenue. Increasing television viewership and digital consumption following the epidemic have also contributed to the financial recovery.
The full-year EBITDA (income before depreciation, interest, taxation and amortization) for the group rose 29 percent to Rs 796 crore in a year affected by the COVID-19 epidemic.
The group reported the highest EBITDA margin of 17 percent, up 5.4 percentage points from a year earlier, thanks to cost controls. Higher operating profitability and a one-third reduction in interest costs resulted in 9 times more net profit than the previous year.
It also allowed the group to provide loans at the end of 31 March 2021 from Rs 3,265 crore to Rs 2,414 crore a year earlier.
“The group has successfully dealt with the challenges posed by the COVID epidemic and posted improved recovery gains in a difficult year. Adil Zainulbhai, chairman of Network 18, said, “Our diverse brands’ engagement with consumers has only increased during this period.”
TV business reports strong growth
Among its subsidiaries, TV18 Broadcast Limited, which operates the largest 56-channel network in India, reported consolidated EBITDA of Rs 808 crore for FY21, up 15 per cent. The company also reported the highest EBITDA margin of 18 percent for cost control. Thus, COVID increased its net profit by 79 percent from a year earlier, despite a 13 percent drop in revenue in the year. According to the BARC, TV viewership has increased, with an increase in TV viewership with access to TV from 197 million to 210 million in 2018.
Within the television business, margins in TV news doubled to 16 percent in FY21. Although the segment had total operating revenue of 4 percent, advertising revenue grew despite TV news ratings under the blackout from October 2020.
The growth in advertising revenue came in the high single digits in the fourth fiscal quarter of FY2011 and the total revenue during this period increased by 5 percent. The margin in TV news business rose to around 27 percent in the quarter.
TV entertainment segment shines
The TV entertainment business also saw strong financial performance with full-year margins up to 19 percent, the highest ever. Operating EBITDA grew 4 percent despite a 16 percent drop in revenue for the full year.
Nevertheless, advertising revenue is on track in this business as well. A company statement said that entertainment ads pre-live-events (which were postponed) grew in the high single digits, as recovery from COVID was cemented with a full roster of original programming.
It is also encouraging that the entertainment business has increased its viewership by 2 percent to 10.9 percent. Major general entertainment channel Colors returned to No 2 status during the year.
Digital center takes phase
In digital news, revenue grew 29 percent in FY21; This segment also broke down at the EBITDA level for the entire year. In fact, revenue grew nearly 50 percent year-over-year for the third consecutive quarter. The segment returned to profit at an operational level of Rs 3 crore EBITDA.
Network18 Digital News is a clear # 2 player in the news / information category. A company statement said that the increased fragrance of mediums for advertisers has been contrasted with the growing stature and reach of our platform.
Overall subscription revenue was broadly resilient to the COVID impact, and grew 1 percent in FY15, but remains the next engine of growth, the company said.
Voot and Pay products Voot Select and Kids have demonstrated strong traction, with Voot Select being the fastest to reach 1 million B2C customers in its first year, it added.
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